Which countries in Africa have the most industrialised economies?
The African Development Bank recently published the 2022 Africa Industrialisation Index, confirming that Africa’s most industrialised economies are South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia and Mauritius.
Less well known is what the countries that improved the most over the past 10 years have in common – and what it tells us about these countries’ efforts to move away from economic dependence on extractives toward value-adding sectors.
The countries that showed the greatest progress over the past decade are Senegal, Ethiopia, Benin, Tanzania and Uganda.
Senegal now ranks an impressive 7th in the continent, up from 14th in 2011, while Ethiopia moved up to the top half of the standings, from 31st to 25th. Benin jumped a whopping 14 places to 18th, while Uganda rose 5 to 20th and Tanzania rose 6 to 21st.
Historically, all these countries’ economies relied on the export of raw commodities with minimal, if any, local processing. These were predominantly gold, phosphate and oil in Senegal; coffee in Ethiopia; gold and coffee in Uganda; cotton in Benin; and gold, metal ores and coffee in Tanzania.
These sectors provided foreign exchange, some tax revenues and some employment, but did not allow these countries to achieve rapid, widespread, and sustained gains in productivity and welfare.
More recently, a common thread that has emerged across these rising African economies is entrepreneurial innovation and an increasingly deliberate strategy by the government to facilitate private investment into value-adding industries.
These industries enable larger-scale job creation, provide avenues to develop new product lines, and generate spill-overs across different types of firms and to other parts of the local economy. The promotion of value-adding sectors by government can play an important role in the industrialisation process.
Source: African Business